This bold, bizarre and seemingly light-headed proposal by Lord Foster who paints London’s future landscape with a network of 220km car-free routes raised on pylons begs us to question its feasibility. Developed by Exterior Architecture who has the backing of Network Rail and Transport for London, this project will incur approximately £220 million, rendering a floating lattice that will dramatically alter the streetscape’s and buildings’ daylight exposure. Perhaps it is a less messy solution since integrating and improving the already congested networks on ground level will require more planning in order to avoid interfering with existing traffic.
The additive approach seems more favorable than the adaptive approach. Many would succumb to the appealing graphics and the 60s concept of the future, after all, it seems to meet the contemporary demand for safer cycling paths and faster travel time. But these questions remain- Will such elaborate and expensive infrastructure improve the streetscape experience for pedestrians and automobile drivers alike? How will cyclist engage with the urban landscape when the network seems to be a separate and isolated entity? What will become of these elevated routes when automobiles become less relevant and bicycles have more access to the roads on ground level? Could the money be efficiently used to improve the existing cycling network?